Patient’ India to work with China on Azhar
17, Mar 2019
Despite the disappointment over China’s decision to place a hold on the terror listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar at the United Nations, India indicated on Saturday that it would continue its efforts to convince Beijing, rather than adopting a collision course with it.
Just a Hold and not a Block:
India pointed out that China has placed only a hold on listing Azhar at the 1267 ISIL and Al Qaeda Sanctions committee, and not a block, indicating that it could change its mind in the next few months.
However, the hopes may be unfounded given that in previous years from 2008-2010, and 2016-2018 when India had pursued and supported listing proposals at the UNSC, China had first placed a similar hold on the listing, citing inadequate information. A few months later, China had converted the hold to a permanent block or veto.
Who is Masood Azhar?
Masood Azhar was responsible for the January 2, 2016 attack on Pathankot is a Pakistani national who was released by India in 1999 in return for hostages who had been hijacked.
He has recorded this in his own book From Imprisonment to Freedom, details of the terror plot to hijack the plane to Kandahar, and of links to the Taliban who pushed Indian negotiators on the ground into effecting his release.
He openly spoke of meeting Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, travelling to Somalia to help recruit for al-Qaeda, and his loyalty to Taliban chief Mullah Omar, whom he described as his beloved Amir-ul-Momineen (leader of the faithful).
Among the P5, the U.S., U.K. and France co-sponsored India’s resolution against Azhar, China vetoed it in previous years from 2008-2010, and 2016-2018.
China had blocked India’s attempts to list Masood Azhar in the agenda of the 1267 committee in 2016 neutralising India’s campaign.
China cited the absence of consensus among members of a UN committee, as an explanation for its decision to block the ban.
China recently expressed hope that its decision to place a ‘technical hold’ on designating Masood Azhar an international terrorist will not have a negative impact on China-India ties.
India hit out at China for demanding solid evidence for securing the ban on Azhar, saying the extent of his actions were well-documented and the burden of proof was not on the country.
What is the 1267 Committee?
In 1999, the U.N. had set up an al-Qaeda/Taliban sanctions committee (UNSCR 1267) to impose strictures on anyone dealing with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.
In 2011, the UNSC made it simply the al-Qaeda sanctions committee, separating the Taliban to facilitate talks by delisting Taliban leaders being engaged.
In December 2015, the UNSC made a further shift by renaming it “ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee” (UNSCR/2253).
It took two years and the 9/11 attacks for the JeM to be designated a terror group by the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee in 2001.
In September 2016, India asked the 1267 committee to consider banning of Masood Azhar, the head of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was already a banned entity.